Despite the enormity of the obesity epidemic, even small changes in the way we live can make a huge difference in the quality of our children’s health. By making small but significant changes now, we can set up our kids to enjoy many happy and productive years. Consider a few of the following changes in lifestyle:
- Encouraging increased physical activity early in life (ages four to eleven) can reduce the incidence of obesity and get kids started on health-promoting habits that will stay with them even into adulthood.
- Reducing caloric intake by even one hundred calories per day–one chocolate chip cookie–can prevent or begin to reverse unhealthy weight gain.
- Cutting down or eliminating soft drinks can result in significant weight reduction.
- Dining at home as a family can have a marked effect on reducing weight gain, as well as improving a family’s physical, emotional, and relational health.
- Reducing or eliminating TV viewing and computer/video game time can result in significant weight reduction, lowering of cholesterol, and increased fitness.
- Refusing to eat meals in front of the TV can help avoid significant weight gain.
- Learning to cut portion sizes, feeding your children a healthy breakfast, and teaching them to choose healthy snacks have almost immediate effects.
Mom and Dad: You’re the key to preventing SuperSized Kids! None of these changes require family members to alter their lives completely. But by putting into practice any one of them can result, over time, in enormous health benefits. Yes, there’s reason for hope!
Taken with permission from Walt Larimore, MD; Sherri Flynt, MPH, RD, LD with Steve Halliday,SuperSized Kids: How to Rescue Your Child from the Obesity Threat (Center Street).